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The impressive new Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver, with its triple timezone displays and seriously strong anti-shock architecture, pays homage to retired U.S. Air Force Pilot Major Brian Shul, one of only ninety-two pilots to fly the SR-71 Blackbird. Ball named the watch after a nickname pilots gave to the jet fighter: the Sled.

The new 42mm Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver is a limited edition of 1,990 pieces.

The new watch’s blue and black bezel is striking, especially as it frames the black dial and the four large hands that point out the time in up to three different zones. But at night, the display really shines, with cockpit-level multi-hue marker and hand illumination. 

In the dark, one look at the aviator-inspired dial unveils hour indexes and main hands glowing, thanks to Ball’s trademark H3 gas tubes, here in yellow.  Ball has doubled the glass tubes at the 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock markers while the 12 o’clock index boasts a pair of bright orange gas tubes. Any search for the second time zone lands on the glowing GMT hand, which is differentiated with a green gas tube.

The new watch’s micro-gas illuminated bezel features large green 24-hour Arabic numerals and markers.

Bold bezel

But perhaps, the star of the low-light display is the micro-gas illuminated bezel, with its large green 24-hour Arabic numerals and markers. This scratch-resistant, sapphire-coated bidirectional 24-hour rotating bezel serves as a third timezone. It allows a pilot (or frequent traveler) to use the GMT hand to track home city time, while the central hour and minute hands remain set to the newer local time.

Of course, the dial also recalls Brian Shul directly with an illuminated outline of the SR-71 fighter jet at 6 o’clock, just below the words “SLED DRIVER” and Shul’s signature. More personalization is evident on the back, which Ball engraves with the Mach 3+ insignia emblem, as worn by all qualified SR-71 Blackbird crewmembers.

Highly resistant

Inside Ball places its ETA-based Ball RR1201-C automatic movement, which is certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). And Ball protects the movement with an unusually tough shock and magnetic resistance. The AeroGMT Sled Driver absorbs impacts up to 7,500Gs and boasts anti-magnetic resistance of 4,800 A/m.

Ball engraves the back with the Mach 3+ insignia emblem, as worn by all qualified SR-71 Blackbird crewmembers.

Ball also equips the 42mm steel Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver with an extendable triple-folding buckle or an alternative rubber strap, both customized to fit over a pilot’s jacket or sleeve. The new watch is a limited edition of 1,990 pieces in reference to 1990, when four speed records were established on the final flight of the SR-71 Blackbird in U.S. Air Force service.  Price: $3,499.

 

Specifications: Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver

(A limited edition of 1,990 pieces)      

Movement: Automatic ETA-based caliber BALL RR1201-C, Chronometer certified by COSC.

Dial and Functions: 44 micro gas tubes on hour, minute, second, second time zone hands, dial and bezel, luminous three time zone indication.

Case: 42mm by 13.85mm steel, bidirectional rotating curved sapphire bezel with micro gas tubes, Shock resistant to 7,500Gs, anti-magnetic to 4,800A/m, water resistant to 100 meters, titanium case back, anti-reflective sapphire crystal, patented crown protection system.

Bracelet: Tapered stainless steel bracelet with patented folding buckle & extension system or rubber strap with pin buckle.

Price: $3,499

 

By Marc Frankel

It goes without saying that Dive Watches are one of the most popular styles of men’s watches sold today. But what many don’t know is that invoking the “dive” moniker actually has legal implications. Writing the word “Divers 200M” or any similar mark with “Diver” written on the dial or case back immediately invokes ISO 6425. The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is an international body that writes standards for the commercial industry.

Before we get into ISO 6425, let’s talk about dive watches first. In modern times, very few SCUBA divers actually rely exclusively on a wristwatch while underwater. As an example, my own dive master had a beautiful Rolex Submariner on his wrist during classroom lessons, but once we hit the water, the Rolex was replaced with a dive computer.

The newest Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU features 600 meters of water resistance, enhanced shock resistance and strong anti-magnetic properties.

Pre-computer

Before the advent of these modern and multi-function computers, divers relied on their mechanical watches to keep track of the key data points of total time submerged as well as bottom time in order to calculate residual nitrogen in the blood, and determine when, how many, and how long decompression stops should be if needed.

The dive watch, in this case, was performing a critical function, where a malfunction could spell disaster for the diver. This is why the ISO spec was developed, because dive watches were so critically important as instruments that protected the user’s health and safety. Today the analog dive watch continues to be worn while diving, but is more of a fashionable backup in the unlikely case the computer fails.

The Seiko Prospex SPB189 features a silicone strap or a titanium bracelet with super-hard coating and tri-fold push button release clasp with secure lock and extender. 

ISO 6425 is a rigorous specification titled “Horology – Divers’ watches” that supersedes older specs first released in the mid 1990s. In essence, it spells out what qualities a Dive Watch must have, and the methods with which to test them.

ISO Tests

Among the tests that ISO 6425 calls for includes, but is not limited to; temperature extremes, day and night visibility, magnetic resistance, salt spray, shock resistance and of course, water resistance. Obviously, we all expect water resistance to be one of the parameters checked. However, since water resistance is so important to the function of the dive watch, the actual pressure (depth) to which the watch is tested is 25% beyond the stated water resistance limit of a particular watch.

The Ulysse Nardin Diver X Nemo Point limited edition.

For example, a dive watch rated to 200 meters (20atm) is actually tested to 250 meters in order to meet ISO 6425.  And it’s not a dry air test. It is a true wet test, with a follow up condensation test to see if any moisture has found its way into the watchcase.

Furthermore, ISO 6425 states that EVERY watch certified to the spec needs to have its own water resistance individually tested. This means that if you are wearing a watch bearing the “Divers” mark on the dial or case back, that particular watch has been tested to 25% beyond the depth stated on the dial. Not a sample, but the very piece you are wearing. This is the ONLY way to ensure it will perform flawlessly under the stresses of diving.

The new TAG Heuer Aquaracer 43mm Tortoise Shell Effect Special Edition.

On my YouTube channel I discuss ISO in detail in my Watch and Learn series. In addition to water resistance, another ISO test that was actually quite fun to perform was the requirement that the strap needs to withstand about forty pounds of pull (simulating getting snagged on something) without the spring bars popping or tearing the strap itself. It was a great test to replicate, and the results were pretty eye opening.

One of several new models within the Torgoen T43 Diver watch collection.

So the next time you see the word “Dive” on watch dial, you’ll know that you are looking at an individually proven and tested dive watch that meets or exceeds the ISO 6425 quality standard!

Thank you for reading, and thank you for watching.

Marc Frankel, Video Editor, About Time

Founder, Long Island Watch

 

 

The newest Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU design enhances the dive watch’s existing, rugged construction with a revamped bezel and the addition of a new feature that underscores the NEDU’s solid dive-watch credentials.

The newest Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU.

On this new NEDU, a collection Ball Watch introduced in 2012, Ball has cut two chamfers into the case flange that supports the bezel. These cuts act as a drain for any water retained between these components during a dive.  As a result, the NEDU will offer virtually no opportunity for corrosion to take root under the bezel.

This feature expands the NEDU’s nautical readiness, which also includes a full –and impressive ­– 600-meters of water resistance, alongside Ball Watch extras like shock resistance to 7,500Gs and resistance to magnetic fields to an intensity of 4,800A/m. 

Dive survival

Dive readiness is the original argument for this particular Ball collection, which is named after the Navy Experimental Diving Unit (NEDU), the unit of the United States Navy responsible for rolling out operational diving and decompression rules for the United States Armed Forces. It assesses the systems and procedures involved in surviving hyperbaric and diving environments.

This origin story is partly why Ball has built the collection with an unusually thick case, which at 17.3mm is among the thickest we’ve seen for a watch that measures 42mm in diameter.

To assist the watch’s impressive water resistance rating Ball directly incorporated a (patented) automatic helium release valve directly into the crown. This is the same design Ball incorporates into all its Engineer Hydrocarbon models.

And of course the dial of the Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU lights up like few others in the dark with the famed Ball Watch luminous microtubes of H₃ gas fitted into the dial’s indexes and hands.

Chronometer-certified

Inside the watch Ball places a COSC-certified ETA Valjoux-based caliber RR1402-C automatic movement to measure and indicate elapsed time for up to twelve hours.

On the caseback Ball has stamped a diver motif to honor the NEDU’s official emblem.

The new Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU comes with a black dial, a blue dial or the brand-new gradient blue dial. On the caseback Ball has stamped a diver motif to honor the NEDU’s official emblem. In addition to a rubber strap, Ball offers a stainless steel and titanium bracelet alongside a patented triple folding buckle. This extension system allows the wearer top place the watch easily over a diving suit.

 

Price: The Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU on a stainless steel and titanium bracelet is $4,499 or $4,399 on a rubber strap. The new watch is available now on the Ball Watch online store and through the Ball Watch retailer network.

 

Specifications: The Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU

Movement: Automatic caliber BALL RR1402-C (ETA Valjoux-based), chronometer certified COSC

Case: 42mm x 17.3mm titanium with top ceramic luminous unidirectional rotating bezel, 3.7mm anti-reflective sapphire crystal, patented crown protection system, helium release system, shock resistance to 7,500 Gs, anti-magnetic to 4,800A/m, water resistant to 600 meters.

Dial: Gradient blue, black or blue, 21 micro gas tubes on hour, minute, second hands, markers. Indicators for hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds, day and date.

Bracelet: Tapered titanium and stainless steel with patented folding buckle & extension system or rubber strap with standard buckle.

Prices: $4,499 (stainless steel and titanium bracelet) or $4,399 (rubber strap.)

Well known for dials illuminated by H3 gas-filled microtubes within markers and hands, Ball Watch has begun to expand its use of the microtubes by placing them underneath the dials of select new watches.  

This placement results in a more intensely luminous dial and also gives Ball Watch a bit more design flexibility. With more open space on the dial, Ball Watch can create a more traditional sporty layout. Ball Watch demonstrated this first with its Engineer Hydrocarbon Original Fifteenth Anniversary model, which debuted earlier this year.

The Ball Watch Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer, available in two case sizes and three dial colors.

Now Ball Watch expands this treatment on the new Ball Watch Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer, which features the Ball Watch H3 gas tubes not only on the hands and primary markers, but also underneath all the dot-shaped seconds/minute markers. With H3 tubes on each hand, the time is always visible down to the second – and in the dark.

And for this debut, the lights are not only extra-brilliant, but on one model are unusually colorful. The ‘Caring Edition’ of the Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer will be sold with a rainbow-inspired dial, and sales of the watch will benefit the Salvation Army.

The Ball Watch Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer Caring Edition
The dial on the Ball Watch Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer Caring Edition.

Extra protection

Ball is offering the steel-cased Engineer III Marvelight in two sizes: 40mm and 43mm, both with a steel bracelet. Inside is the automatic COSC-certified chronometer, the ETA-based caliber BALL RR1103-C, protected by a screw-down crown to 100 meters of water resistance.

 

The watchmaker utilizes a surprising number of proprietary technologies to protect and enhance the precision of its calibers, including its Amortiser anti-shock system and a mu-metal anti-magnetic shield, both of which are in-force within the new watch.

While enhanced anti-shock systems are found in other Swiss-made sports watches, superior anti-magnetic protection is relatively rare, particularly among watches that, like Ball Watch, sell models with ‘affordable’ price tags. Indeed, Ball’s mu-metal protects the mechanical watch against magnetic fields that measure to the high intensity of 80,000A/m.

The Ball Watch Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer, also sold with a silver or black dial.

Ball’s new Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer is a limited edition of 1,000 in each dial color (black, blue or silver) and in each size. The Caring Edition offers a black dial with the multi-colored markers.

 

Ball Watch notes that the watch is available at a special pre-order price (before July 31) of $1,849 on shop.ballwatch.ch. Delivery is scheduled between November and December 2020. Regular price will be $2,199.

During the campaign, customers can select their limited edition number and can add a free-of-charge engraving on the caseback. Ball’s Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer – Caring Edition is priced at $2,199. Ball will donate $300 to The Salvation Army for every piece sold during the pre-order period.

Specifications: Ball Watch Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer

Movement: Automatic ETA-based caliber BALL RR1103-C, Amortiser patented anti-shock system, COSC chronometer-certified.

Dial: Blue, silver or black with 27 micro gas tubes on hour, minute and second hands and underneath dial for night reading capability, hours, minutes, seconds and magnified date. Special Caring Edition with black dial and colorful hour and minutes markers.

Case: 40mm or 43mm by 13.6mm stainless steel, anti-reflective sapphire crystal, screwed-in crown, water resistant to 100 meters, anti-magnetic to 80,000A/m.

Bracelet: Stainless steel bracelet with folding buckle

Limited Edition: 1,000 pieces of each color and size.

 

Ball Watch this week combines its well-known dial illumination and solid crown protector with a racing tachymeter to create the Engineer Hydrocarbon Racer Chronograph, the brand’s first automotive racing watch in years.

The new Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Racer Chronograph

While Ball has long focused on designing watches with functions requested by explorers, divers, travelers and adventurers, the historical U.S. brand (now based in Switzerland) now seeks to reach automobile racing enthusiasts with this new chronograph collection. Ball Watch has offered other watches with tachymeters in years past, including the Engineer Master II Slide Chronograph and two Fireman Storm Chaser models, but this debut is the first in recent years specifically designed with such a bezel.  

For Ball, adding a speed-monitoring tachymeter scale (here, in black ceramic) to the bezel of a chronograph is just a start. The remaining features Ball adds to the three-watch collection echo the brand’s attention to the needs of collectors who plan to wear their watch amid adverse conditions.

Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Racer Chronograph, showing illumination.

Shock resistance

These features include a COSC-certified, chronometer-rated automatic movement (Ball’s Caliber RR1401, an upgraded and customized ETA Valjoux 7750), resistance to shocks of up to 7,500 g and anti-magnetic protection rated to 4,800 A/m.

That Ball crown protector (left), standard on the watches throughout the Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon collection, screws into the case once the owner sets the time on the watch. After the wearer clasps the patented steel protector over the crown, it won’t budge or allow dust or dirt to contamination the case interior.  

And as noted, Ball’s proprietary H3 gas tube illumination (colored green on the dial and hands and yellow at 12 o’clock) means that the time – and the timing – remains visible day or night. 

Three dials

Ball makes the new Engineer Hydrocarbon Racer Chronograph with a 42mm diameter stainless steel case with a black ceramic bezel and a choice of a black, blue or white dial.

Ball then finishes the watch with a stainless-steel brushed and polished bracelet with a folding clasp. Price: $3,599.

 

SPECIFICATIONS: Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Racer Chronograph

Movement: Automatic caliber BALL RR1401-C (ETA-7750-based), chronometer-certified COSC,

7,500Gs shock resistance, 100-meters of water resistance, anti-magnetic to 4,800 A/m

Functions: Chronograph with accumulated measurement up to 45 minutes, tachymeter, hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds and date

Dial: Blue, silver or black with 15 micro gas tubes on hour and minute hands and dial for night reading capability

Case: 42mm by 15.2mm stainless steel with black ceramic bezel, anti-reflective sapphire crystal, patented crown protection system

Bracelet: Tapered stainless steel with patented folding buckle and extension system

Price: $3,599

 

The new Ball Watch Company Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps is actually a series of steel-cased 40mm or 43mm three-hand watches or GMT steel watches, also made in two sizes (40mm or 44mm). And while all the watches are designed to fit within Ball’s Engineer collection, this new iteration salutes the 245th Anniversary of the U.S. Marines with the Marine Corps emblem on the dial of each model.

The Ball Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps Power Reserve GMT.

Every watch of course features Ball’s well-known always-lit micro gas tubes on the markers and hands for high legibility in darkness. Within the tubes, molecules of H3 gas emit luminous energy for at least twenty-five years without ever needing any input from an external source of light or energy.

Ball 36 micro-gas tubes light up the dial of the Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps Power Reserve GMT, available in 40mm or 44mm sizes.

The GMT Model, which also features a power reserve indictor on the dial, displays its dual time subdial at 12 o’clock and its 42-hour power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock. The watch is water resistant to 100 meters thanks to its screw-down crown and is anti-magnetic to 4,800A/m. As an online exclusive, the Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps Power Reserve GMT is limited to 1,000 pieces, each priced at $1,549.

The Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps, with steel TiC-coated black case.
The solid, engraved caseback of the Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps boasts about its strong anti-magnetic properties.
The Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps, showing steel case and bracelet.

With all- black titanium carbide-coated 43mm cases and black rubber straps ($1,699, or $1,499 for the 40mm model w/steel bracelets), the three-hand models are more contemporary in style. Ball’s own Mu-metal shielding protects the automatic movement from magnetic fields up to 80,000A/m. This Ball Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps watch is also water resistant up to 100 meters, thanks to its screw-down crown.

 

Specifications: Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps
Automatic ETA-based Ball caliber RR1103
15 micro gas tubes for night reading capability
Hours, minutes, sweep seconds and magnified date
Dimensions: 40mm
Anti-magnetic to 80,000A/m
Water resistant to 100m / 330ft
Stainless steel or stainless steel with TiC coating case
Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Screw-down crown
Black dial, stainless steel bracelet or rubber strap
Limited edition of 1,000: Price: $1,499, or $1,279 with pre-order discount.
Additional NATO, rubber and leather straps available

Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps, Black case
Automatic ETA-based Ball caliber RR1103
15 micro gas tubes for night reading capability
Hours, minutes, sweep seconds and magnified date
Dimensions: 43mm
Anti-magnetic to 80,000A/m
Water resistant to 100m / 330ft
Stainless steel or stainless steel with TiC coating case
Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Screw-down crown
Black dial, stainless steel bracelet or rubber strap
Limited edition: Price: $1,649 or $1,399 with pre-order discount.
Additional NATO, rubber and leather straps available

Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps Power Reserve GMT

Automatic ETA-based Ball caliber RR1302
36 micro gas tubes for night reading capability
Dual Time display
42 hours power reserve indicator
Hours, minutes, sweep seconds and date
Dimensions: 40mm or 44 mm
Anti-magnetic to 4,800A/m
Water resistant to 100m / 330ft
Stainless steel case
Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Sapphire crystal transparent case back
Screw-down crown
Black dial, stainless steel bracelet
Limited edition: Price: $1,549
Additional NATO, rubber and leather straps available

 

 

 

    Ball Watch earlier this year announced that it released its Engineer Hydrocarbon Original ($3,199) in a special fifteenth Anniversary edition that sports larger H3 gas microcapsules – for the first time under the dial – and three of Ball’s patented anti-shock systems, namely the Amortiser, SpringLOCK and SpringSEAL.

For the 15th Anniversary Ball Engineer
Hydrocarbon Original Ball for the first time
places extra-wide tritium self-powered
luminescent tubes underneath the dial,
flooding the ‘hour holes’ with light.

      For this anniversary model, Ball places its micro-gas tubes on hands and utilizes those larger tubes under – not on top of – the dial on the hour apertures. This changes the look of the Hydrocarbon dial considerably.

Nighttime view of the new Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Original dial.

    The 40mm steel watch is fitted with a graduated and notched unidirectional bezel and is water-resistant to 200 meters (660 feet). Powered by a COSC-certified BALL RR1102-CSL automatic caliber, the watch also displays the day and date functions on its black dial.

The solid caseback, showing diver engraving.

Like all watches in the Hydrocarbon Collection, Ball protects its crown with a protection valve to insure that it’s securely bolted down and inaccessible while diving. And, true to its name, the Engineer Hydrocarbon Original is made to be shock resistant to 7,500 Gs and anti-magnetic to 80,000 A/m, thanks to mu-metal magnetic shielding.

Ball secures the crown with its own patented protector.

 

SPECIFICATIONS: Ball Watch 15th Anniversary Engineer Hydrocarbon Original

Movement: Automatic caliber BALL RR1102-CSL, COSC-chronometer certified with SpringLOCK

patented anti-shock system and SpringSEAL, patented regulator anti-shock system

Dial: Black with thirty micro gas tubes on hour, minute, and second hands, as well as under the dial (for the first time) and bezel; hours, minutes, sweep seconds, day and date

Case: 40mm x 14.55mm stainless steel, Mu-metal shield, unidirectional rotating curved sapphire bezel with micro gas tubes, Amortiser patented anti-shock system, anti-reflective sapphire crystal,

patented crown protection system, anti-magnetic to 80,000A/m, water resistant to 200 meters, shock resistant to 7,500Gs.

Bracelet: Tapered stainless steel with patented folding buckle and extension system

Price: $3,199